North Portland Homeowner Gets Walker-Friendly Stairs

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The Power of Word of Mouth

Think of all the tools that might be used in a ReFit project: hammers, screwdrivers, levels, saws and so on. One tool you might not think of, but is critical to the growth of ReFit, is “word of mouth.”

That is how contractor Jim Horn of Double J Construction learned about ReFit, and because of word of mouth, he ended up completing a project early this year. He heard about ReFit by being in P2P, a small group that grew out of Oregon Remodelers Association (ORA) membership.

“It was (made up of) business owners and we’d kick around different ideas of what works and what doesn’t. Kinda a support group for contractors,” Horn explains.

Bill Markt, a ReFit founder, was also a member of P2P and used the opportunity to talk about the non-profit. In doing so, he planted a seed.

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Unsafe Stairs Called for Reinforcements

One day, ReFit Projects Director Jeff Bryan called Horn about a small job.

James Moles, a homeowner in North Portland, desperately needed new stairs on the back of his house (the only entrance he used). Moles used a walker, so he didn’t need a ramp, but his current stairs were in terrible shape.

“I’m based in Oregon City, and so we don’t have a lot of work in North Portland, but I swung by to take a look and said, ‘Yeah, we can help you out.’ So, I let Jeff know,” says Horn.

The stairs were in deplorable condition, says Horn. They were unsafe, un-level, falling apart, and literally partially nailed to a tree. “So we just took it off and started over.”

ReFit provided the materials; Horn and one of his employees, the manpower. Horn measured and pre-constructed the stair-jacks (supports), so it was a fast job.

“We had it torn off in the morning and put the new one up in the afternoon.”

Horn knew the owner of the home would be grateful. What he didn’t expect was the number of other people who thanked him.

“The mailman walked by and said, ‘thank you very much for doing that.’ and the Meals on Wheels people also thanked me,” said Horn.

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